Stealing Signals Week 7: AFC Advanced Stats
Stealing Signals provides your Week 7 look at snaps, touches, game flow, efficiency, and everything in between. Also, check out the NFC.
If I don’t touch on a specific player you’re looking for information about, check past iterations in the archives of this series.
Snap Notes: D’Onta Foreman – 35% (season high)
Key Stat: Deshaun Watson – QB1 from Weeks 2 to 6
The Texans’ RB usage the last few weeks suggested Lamar Miller was the clear lead back, with D’Onta Foreman racking up 13 Week 4 carries in garbage time. It was more or less the same deal in Week 6, as Foreman’s touches skewed to the second half of a game the Texans led 24-3 at the break.
For better or worse, Miller has consistently been the lead back in recent weeks, though touch counts suggest it’s closer because of the playing time Foreman has picked up in large leads.
Deshaun Watson was hyper-efficient again, and his 7.8 yards per attempt was actually the lowest he’s produced in the last four games.1 I had an interesting discussion this week about the weapons around Watson, and it’s obvious that’s a plus for a young QB, though not a guarantee for success.
It’s more complicated than Brock Osweiler and Tom Savage being bad. Paxton Lynch immediately came to mind, but his sample is pretty limited. Trevor Siemian, on the other hand, is an example of a QB whose weapons probably helped him to a strong enough start this year that people were discussing him in breakout terms. He’s since settled in as a “meh” QB who is elevated a bit by a talented surrounding cast.
What Watson has done is different and is more along the lines of what you’d expect if you had a strong supporting cast and added a QB that brought something substantial himself.
We did talk last week about Houston’s recent schedule and how Cleveland was another plus matchup. During Watson’s strong four-game passing stretch he’s faced a schedule very conducive to QB fantasy scoring.
Using the Buy Low Machine to look back includes some bias as Watson’s performances have impacted the data, but it’s still safe to say he’ll face some more difficult secondaries down the road.
Signal: Lamar Miller – still the clear lead back outside heavy positive game script
Noise: Will Fuller – dude has five TDs on eight receptions now
Snap Notes: Kasen Williams – 58% (season high)
Key Stat: Team – no RB/WR/TE with double-digit PPR points in Week 6
With Kevin Hogan under center, the Browns’ offense stalled out in Week 6. The spread of snaps and offensive opportunity we’ve discussed ad nauseum in this space was on full display as no skill position player went for double-digit fantasy points.
Seth DeValve scored the lone offensive TD but caught just two passes for nine yards. Kasen Williams earned a few more snaps and produced a 6-4-41 line.
Ricardo Louis was the only skill position player over a 70 percent snap rate for the second straight week. He led the team in targets with seven but caught just three for 25. He’s at least getting Air Yards. He’s 10th in the NFL over the last four weeks and has risen each week from 86 in Week 3 to 129 in Week 6. The conversion rate on those has been awful.
Duke Johnson, who we’ve talked about as a sell, had a couple solid runs and wound up with eight touches for 39 yards.
It’s not that anyone is playing particularly poorly; the individual opportunity just isn’t going to consistently be there in a below average offense that is getting so many players snaps and opportunity. Hogan had a pretty rough time and the team is going back to DeShone Kizer next week, but even when there’s more production than 247 total yards and one offensive TD, it’s too hard to determine who of Johnson, Louis, Isaiah Crowell, DeValve, David Njoku, or any of three or four other potential WR contributors will make a big play on limited opportunity.
Signal: Too many cooks in the kitchen
Noise: Ricardo Louis – due for an efficiency rebound, probably, if the QBs can muster it
Snap Notes: Anthony Fasano – 70%; Leonte Carroo – 36%
Key Stat: Jay Ajayi – 26-130 rushing line
With no DeVante Parker, the Dolphins ran a ton of two-TE sets and stuck with the ground game. Somehow, they were able to get a comeback win, despite Jay Cutler’s third straight sub-200 yard passing game.
Leonte Carroo got the start at WR, but his snaps were limited. Jarvis Landry and Kenny Stills both played over 90 percent of the snaps, and both had receiving TDs. Landry totaled 14 targets, and is now second in the NFL in targets per game.
Jarvis Landry’s 14 targets pulled him into 2nd in targets/game.
AB – 12.3
Landry – 11.4
Nuk – 10.8
Fitz – 10.3
AJG/Keenan – 10.2
— Ben Gretch (@YardsPerGretch) October 16, 2017
He’s certainly a strong PPR asset while Cutler refuses to push the ball downfield. Speaking of that, in the Dolphins’ first two games they averaged over 400 team Air Yards. Over the last three, they’ve averaged 188. Some of that is obviously due to Parker being hurt, but Stills is another downfield threat who went from 121 and 166 in the first two games to 58 combined over the past three.
Jay Ajayi was the workhorse, rushing 26 times for 130 yards. He has yet to score on the season but has the 13th most ruEP in the NFL despite already having his bye. He has another plus matchup with the Jets next week before a string of less favorable RB matchups going forward.
Signal: Team – run-based, even in negative game script, Jay Cutler not pushing the ball downfield
Noise: Jay Ajayi – (-10.6) ruFPOE
Snap Notes: Chris Moore – 47%; Michael Campanaro – 45%
Key Stat: Javorius Allen – 4 or more targets in every game since Week 1
Alex Collins started and got all four RB touches on the first two drives before Javorius Allen came in late in the first. Allen still played more than double the snaps (64 percent to 30 percent snap shares), but the touches were split 15 to 13 in favor of Collins. Allen got all four RB targets and had three catches. Both backs were efficient running the ball. Terrance West isn’t practicing and is unlikely to play Week 7 against the Vikings.
Allen has now played 50 percent or more of the snaps in every game this year and has been targeted at least four times in every game since Week 1. Objectively, that’s the better fantasy profile, but what do I know.
With Jeremy Maclin out and Breshad Perriman sustaining a concussion, Chris Moore got extended run for the first time this year. He led WRs with seven targets and led the team in Air Yards with 89, posting a 3-44 line.
Michael Campanaro also played his highest snap share of the year, caught three-of-five targets for 24 yards, and added a punt return TD. Mike Wallace, who caught a TD that was called back due to Joe Flacco hilariously throwing it from two or three yards beyond the line of scrimmage, is on the injury report with a back injury, but played 96 percent of the snaps so it didn’t appear to limit him.
None of the Ravens pass-catchers are great fantasy bets as Flacco is averaging a career worst 5.4 yards per attempt, and Baltimore has run at the seventh-highest rate in the NFL (46.5 percent of plays). Some of that has been due to blowout scripts, but in a Week 6 overtime game where Flacco threw 41 times, he managed just 180 passing yards and no TDs. The Ravens actually matched the Browns by not having any skill position players in double-digit fantasy points.
Signal: Joe Flacco – 5.4 yards per attempt (1.0 fewer than career low; limiting passing viability)
Noise: Chris Moore, Michael Campanaro – playing time influenced by multiple other WR injuries
New England Patriots
Snap Notes: Dion Lewis – 43% (+19% over previous season high); Mike Gillislee – 19% (-7% from previous season low)
Key Stat: James White – 5 or more targets in five of six games this year
Chris Hogan took a big shot to the midsection early in the game and was very slow to get up. He did still wind up playing 93 percent of the snaps, but it’s likely he was operating at less than 100 percent, which could help explain his quiet 4-1-19 line. He’s been limited with a rib injury in practice this week.
Rob Gronkowski and Brandin Cooks carried the load in the passing game instead, with 10 and nine targets leading the team. Both caught six passes for solid yardage totals, and Gronkowski scored twice. This could also just be the expected ebbs and flows of a high-powered passing offense having a lot of plus weapons. Tom Brady also had his lowest passing output of the season at 257 yards.
The RB situation is more interesting, because Dion Lewis actually drew the start and tied James White for the most snaps. Lewis took all three of the RB touches on the first drive before Mike Gillislee cycled in on the second drive of the game. Gillislee lost a fumble on that drive, and then didn’t log another touch until late in the third quarter.
It’s really hard to speculate on what will happen going forward. The Patriots started Rex Burkhead in both Weeks 1 and 2, but he wound up playing lower snap totals than other backs (although he was injured during the Week 2 game). That might have been the plan for Lewis to a degree, as he hadn’t crested even 25 percent of the snaps prior to Week 6. That said, Lewis’s snap share has risen for four straight games now and this was his first start, so it might have been in the cards for him to play more. Ultimately, we don’t really know how much Gillislee’s fumble accelerated the snap differential, though it certainly appeared to have an effect.
For Gillislee’s role, he still got 10 carries and has had double-digit carries in each game this year. The dagger for his value came when Lewis got the call from the one-yard line, an area crucial to Gillislee’s value. And then you also have the presence of Burkhead, who hasn’t played since Week 2 but looks likely to return in the next couple weeks. This is a speculative situation at best, and James White remains the only back with a locked-in role – his seven targets were third on the team, and accounted for all the Patriots RB passing-game usage.
Signal: James White – clear role in passing game
Noise: Dion Lewis, Mike Gillislee – difficult to know how Gillislee’s fumble impacted playing time, and how it will impact future playing time, if at all
New York Jets
Snap Notes: Matt Forte – 58%; Elijah McGuire – 33%
Key Stat: Austin Seferian-Jenkins – two end zone targets on plays that began inside the 5 in three games
Matt Forte returned to a 58 percent snap share, just shy of his season high of 60 percent in Week 1. He caught all eight of his targets for 59 yards in the passing game, while Elijah McGuire was not targeted. McGuire posted a 10-22 rushing line a week after an 11-20 line and is not a fantasy asset right now. Forte has some appeal, particularly as long as Bilal Powell remains out.
Since Austin Seferian-Jenkins’ return, he’s been heavily targeted and producing at a high level, but Robby Anderson has also been dominating the WR targets.
Seferian-Jenkins is the lead receiver in the underneath areas of the field, while Anderson is the team’s deep threat. Anderson’s 13.4 aDOT makes him the only Jet with an aDOT over 10, and his 416 Air Yards over the past four weeks more than doubles any of his teammates.
Seferian-Jenkins caught some bad luck on the fumble/no fumble that’s been widely discussed but has been a consistent TE producer with a workload averaging over 12 reEP per game. Anderson is a sneaky high-upside deep threat who is getting plenty of chances to make his mark. The two make for decent plays against Miami’s suspect secondary in Week 7.
Signal: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Robby Anderson – top two pass-catching options
Noise: Matt Forte – 8 receptions boosted by 4 in the fourth quarter, in hurry-up mode with the team down 10
Snap Notes: All the main guys within five percent of season averages
Key Stat: Marqise Lee – 0.39 MS Air for the season (tied for fourth in the NFL)
The Jaguars gave up a touchdown on the opening kick, but then Leonard Fournette tied things right back up with a 75-yard TD run on the team’s first play from scrimmage. After that play, he gained just 55 yards on 20 more carries. I talked last week about how a late long run boosted his efficiency, so this makes two in a row where he’s been dependent on a big play.
Another concern for Fournette was Chris Ivory’s work in the passing game. Ivory saw a whopping 10 targets, while Fournette saw just two. While Ivory scored on a 22-yard catch-and-run in the first quarter, most of his 9-74-1 receiving line was piled up in the two-minute drill at the end of the first half and in comeback mode in the fourth quarter. Ivory was the target on four of Blake Bortles’ five passes on that final first half drive and four of Bortles’ eight fourth-quarter attempts.
Bortles tied a season high with 35 pass attempts and hasn’t been pushed to throw frequently this year. The receiving work is something to watch for Fournette, who averaged three receptions and 31 receiving yards over the first four weeks but has just three catches for 11 yards over the last two weeks combined. Though the team used Ivory pretty exclusively as the team’s two-minute RB, Fournette still has a plenty of TD potential and has touched the ball at least 20 times in five of six games, with multiple receptions in five of six games as well. He’s not really at risk of being scripted out.
Marqise Lee dominated the downfield targets and caught five-of-10 targets for 83 yards. His 102 Air Yards were more than the rest of his teammates combined, and his 0.39 MS Air for the season indicates he’s the clear WR1. He’s a solid flex option but carries a low floor due to Jacksonville’s willingness to completely abandon the pass in plus game scripts.
Signal: Marqise Lee – WR1; Chris Ivory – two-minute RB
Noise: Leonard Fournette – lack of receiving work last two weeks is more of a minor issue to his overall opportunity than a major one
Los Angeles Chargers
Snap Notes: Hunter Henry – 83% (third straight season high); Tyrell Williams – 68% (-17% from previous season low); Travis Benjamin – 32% (-27% from previous season low); Mike Williams – 17%
Key Stat: Melvin Gordon – top non-QB/DST/K fantasy output for two consecutive weeks in PPR
There’s always outrage about Melvin Gordon’s YPC, which sits at 3.6 for the season and was 3.3 in Week 6, but a player with massive roles in both the passing game and red zone really doesn’t need rushing yards at all. In fact, if we stripped him of all of his rushing yardage, Gordon would still average 15.3 PPR points per game on his receiving and TD production alone. Only nine backs are averaging more right now.
So the rushing is all gravy from that point, and when the efficiency does spike in that area of his game — as it did in Week 5 — it just creates a monster ceiling.
The receiving opportunity in this game was very notable, as top-10 pick Mike Williams made his debut. The team stuck by their plan to ease him in, giving him a 17 percent snap share. He caught his one target for 15 yards.
With Gordon accounting for 12 targets on Philip Rivers’ 36 pass attempts, there weren’t many downfield throws. Keenan Allen still remained atop the target list for WRs and TEs with nine, continuing his streak of nine-plus targets in every game, something only he and Antonio Brown have accomplished. He’s caught just 54.1 percent of his targets on the season, well below his career low of 63.6 percent.
Beyond him, Hunter Henry played a season-high 83 percent of the snaps, his third straight season-high rate. He was targeted seven times, catching five for 90 yards.
Then you get to Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin, both of whom played season lows by significant margins. They combined for just four targets.
Notably, third TE Sean McGrath also played a season high snap share, and the team was employing TEs heavily in this matchup as Antonio Gates was right at his season average. Gordon got 25 carries, and these were more run formations as McGrath wasn’t targeted and ran just two routes per PFF.
For his part, Tyrell Williams ran more routes than Allen, who played a normal snap share. So I’m trying not to read too much into the decreased snap shares for Tyrell Williams and Benjamin, but there’s legitimate concern the targets are going to get thin quick.
Add in that the Chargers draw Denver in Week 7 and have some additional tough passing matchups on their remaining schedule, and I’m not opposed to moving any of their passing game assets right now. Allen is the one I feel most comfortable about, but I’m including him here if the return you get legitimately values him as an elite player.
Signal: A lot of mouths to feed in a passing game that currently has a RB as the second-most-targeted player with a 0.17 target share
Noise: Keenan Allen – 54.1 percent catch rate (career low – 63.6 percent)
Snap Notes: Marshawn Lynch – 52% (season high)
Key Stat: Team – 54.3 offensive plays per game
The initial line on Derek Carr’s injury was he’d be out two-to-six weeks, and he returned after missing just one game (although that of course means he was two weeks removed from the injury). He did seem a little limited and completed 21-of-30 passes for 171 yards, a TD, and two INTs.
Michael Crabtree dominated targets, which should be expected to happen whenever Amari Cooper’s invisible, because he’s also a very good receiver. He only had an 8.5 aDOT on his 10 targets, but racked up a 6-52-1 line.
As for Cooper, he caught five-of-six targets at an aDOT of just 7.0 for 28 yards. He did have a 31-yard reception called back by offensive holding, a 19-yard reception called back for an illegal formation, and another deep target that went incomplete nullified by a defensive offside. So, they threw the ball at him nine times and he caught seven, but only six and five counted.
I found this short Twitter back-and-forth between Louis Riddick and Kurt Warner pretty interesting (hat tip to @FF_Fiend on Twitter for linking me to it).
Been saying that for weeks with Pass O – all predicated in @derekcarrqb making special throws & recs making contested catches!
— Kurt Warner (@kurt13warner) October 19, 2017
Exactly with that – a lot of press fade throws instead of easier off cov completions! Always looking 4 BIG play instead of efficient play!
— Kurt Warner (@kurt13warner) October 19, 2017
Check out my old posts for more of what continues to look like fanatical Cooper trutherism, if you’re into that sort of thing (I don’t judge).
Marshawn Lynch had his most efficient rushing line with 65 yards on 13 carries, and played a season-high 52 percent of the snaps. He’s getting 62 percent of the RB carries, but the offensive pace certainly hasn’t been beneficial. He’s also caught just four balls in six games, and given he’s scored just twice, he doesn’t have a profile conducive to fantasy success.
Signal: Marshawn Lynch – one-dimensional workload
Noise: Team – 54.3 offensive plays per game (same as last week, but there are no other teams with fewer than 60 per game, and two teams with only five games played that have now run more total plays; this has to regress positively)
Snap Notes: Martavis Bryant – 52% (season low); Vance McDonald – 48% (season high)
Key Stat: 37/25 run/pass ratio
A week after the Steelers inexplicably went extremely pass-heavy against the Jaguars, they got back in the win column by pounding the ball on the ground with Le’Veon Bell and upsetting the last unbeaten team in the NFL in the process. Bell rushed 32 times for 179 yards and a TD, and was also targeted on six of Ben Roethlisberger’s 25 throws, a strong 24 percent share. It was Bell’s second 30-plus carry game this season, while the rest of the NFL has combined for one.2
Antonio Brown gobbled up 10 of the 19 non-Bell targets and made a ridiculous play in the fourth to catch a deflected pass with one hand and quickly get to top speed, scoring a 51-yard TD in the process.
With those dominant opportunity shares, there was no room for fantasy production for anyone else in the offense, something we’ve been harping on since the preseason.
It’s no wonder Martavis Bryant is reportedly unhappy. He was targeted just three times, and his 27 Air Yards were easily a season low just one week after setting a previous season low. Bryant saw at least 89 Air Yards in each of the first four games, averaging 126. He has just 85 total in the past two games, and played a season-low snap share of 52 percent in Week 6.
That said, the Steelers made a concerted effort to get Brown more involved after a Week 4 sideline outburst and got Bell involved after catching heat for not handing it off to him enough in Week 5. Bryant’s trending down, but Pittsburgh has four straight plus matchups for WRs (sandwiching their Week 9 bye), and he would appear next in line for squeaky wheel treatment.
As far as the missing snaps, JuJu Smith-Schuster played 69 percent, which was his lowest rate since Week 2. It was Vance McDonald who picked up additional playing time, and he ran just seven routes,3 so it was mostly for two-TE run formations. Bryant ran 18 routes, with Smith-Schuster at 20 and Brown at 24.
Signal: Team – concentrated fantasy production suffocates ancillary pieces
Noise: Martavis Bryant – raw Week 6 stats definitely impacted by run/pass splits (although that doesn’t explain Week 5)
Kansas City Chiefs
Snap Notes: Demarcus Robinson – 91% (season high); De’Anthony Thomas – 67% (season high)
Key Stat: Team – 251 total yards in Week 6 (first game under 300 this season)
The Chiefs finally got got, and their offense produced fewer than 300 total yards and two TDs for the first time this season.
With Chris Conley and Albert Wilson out, Demarcus Robinson and De’Anthony Thomas played big snaps. Thomas had a long TD in the fourth quarter for the Chiefs’ only score. He fits the Wilson role, while Robinson is a better fit for the Conley role, meaning Robinson’s snaps are probably more likely to carry over. That doesn’t mean Thomas won’t continue to be involved, but Wilson is questionable for Week 7 and likely back within the next couple weeks.
Conley was more of a role player than a fantasy producer, seeing just 16 targets in five games. Robinson was targeted five times in Week 6, catching just one for 16 yards, but that is likely on the higher-end of his expected opportunity going forward.
Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill were both targeted seven times, which is right around their seasonal averages. They each has subpar performances, posting 7.7 and 7.5 PPR points respectively.
Kareem Hunt only carried the ball nine times for 21 yards but stayed predictably involved in the passing game, turning six targets into an impressive 5-89 receiving line.
This was a pretty typical Andy Reid offensive output in a down game. This offense is still very strong, though, and one game doesn’t mean everything is crashing back to Earth. They will continue to be productive going forward.
Signal: Demarcus Robinson – the new Chris Conley
Noise: Team – 251 total yards, 13 points
Snap Notes: C.J. Anderson – 47% (-22% against previous season low); Devontae Booker – 28%; Jamaal Charles – 25%
Key Stat: Devontae Booker – 6-4-78 receiving line
Booker played 28 percent of the snaps, sliding in ahead of Charles. The two were clearly the preferred negative game script options, receiving nine combined targets while Anderson finished with nine carries and no targets. Anderson touched the ball just twice after the first drive of the second half; Booker caught four-of-six targets for a flashy 78 yards.
This may seem like overreaction, but Anderson becomes an immediate sell candidate while his value is still presumably solid, and other owners think you’re panicking over one weird game. Anderson has thrived in plus game scripts this year and should be expected to have more solid outings in those situations, but the team has gone from not wanting to lean on Charles entirely in negative game scripts — and thus, Anderson still playing — to having two change-of-pace backs they want to use.
That makes Anderson’s future outlook across scripts substantially worse than what we’ve seen to date, hence the idea of selling now before a stretch of games against Kansas City, Philadelphia, and New England that have the potential to further expose the situation4 and crater his value.
Emmanuel Sanders went down with an ankle injury that has already ruled him out for Week 7 and will likely cost multiple weeks. The injury occurred late in the third, and Demaryius Thomas was also off the field for the final two snaps of the period, with Jordan Taylor, Bennie Fowler, and Isaiah McKenzie all in, as well as TE A.J. Derby. Taylor caught a WR screen on the final play of the third, and the fourth quarter targets split out like this.
Fowler played a season-high 75 percent of the snaps, while Taylor wound up at 40 percent, most of which presumably came in the fourth. Taylor was only active for one other game, playing 11 percent of the snaps in Week 4 before the team’s Week 5 bye, but posted an impressive 16-209-2 line on just 25 targets in 2016. He’s a sneaky pickup in deeper leagues, as it’s possible he’s involved as much or more than Fowler in Sanders’ absence. The thinking would be Fowler’s role stays similar, while Taylor slots into Sanders’ role.
Signal: Jordan Taylor – three receptions in a little more than a quarter after Emmanuel Sanders’ injury
Noise: C.J. Anderson – to-date opportunity
Snap Notes: Derrick Henry – 57% (season high)
Key Stat: Derrick Henry – 19-131-1 rushing line
The focus is on Derrick Henry, who iced the win and masked a relatively inefficient rushing day with a 72-yard TD late.5 Mike Mularkey told reporters Tuesday the Week 6 split was a “good model,” and it’s easy to read that as reactionary to the late run. Let’s dive into that.
Henry got a carry on the first drive of the game, then carried the ball on the first play of the second drive. Over those first two drives that constituted all of the Titans’ first quarter plays, DeMarco Murray totaled five carries and a target, while Henry had four carries.
Contrast that with prior to Week 6. In the first five games of the year, Henry totaled just two touches on the Titans’ first two drives. Murray has clearly been the lead back. We can split out first quarter usage to see this effect, and note that Henry’s touches were mostly when the Titans got a third drive in the first quarter.
Mularkey’s comments don’t appear to be a post-game reaction; rather, the Titans appear to have already made this decision prior to Week 6 and started to implement it from the first quarter.
So what does that mean going forward? Henry out-touched Murray and wound up with a 19-to-12 rush attempt advantage, but Murray still handled the bulk of the passing work. I don’t think it’s crazy to assume Henry will carry the ball more than Murray the rest of the season, but his lack of receiving work will mean he’ll need to be very efficient with his rush attempts. There’s also a concern about total volume, as the Titans’ top two RBs touched the ball 36 times in Week 6, the first time they’ve exceeded 30-plus combined touches in a game.6
Eric Decker earned his highest target total of the season (nine) and looked as good as we’ve seen him this year, turning in a 7-88 line. Corey Davis has had a lingering hamstring issue, and while reports have continuously gotten more optimistic, the Titans have a Week 8 bye. It’s likely he’s held out beyond that.
It might be a little crowded if both of these WRs, Rishard Matthews, and Delanie Walker are all healthy — along with the additional targets that go to guys like Jonnu Smith and Taywan Taylor in this offense — but the Titans don’t face any tough WR matchups over the final five weeks of the fantasy season, playoffs included.
Davis has the highest ceiling in the group and should be owned, at least by a front-running fantasy team.
Signal: Derrick Henry – Week 6 first quarter usage suggests team is ready to commit more carries to him
Noise: DeMarco Murray, Derrick Henry – 36 combined touches (first game over 30 combined, averaging 22 per game)
Snap Notes: Frank Gore – 40% (lowest snap share since Week 1)
Key Stat: Team – 204 passing yards per game
Andrew Luck had a setback this week, and Rotoworld’s blurb both captured my thoughts and gave a mirror of the face I made while reading them.
It’s doubtful Indianapolis stays in contention long enough for Luck to come back this year. Later reports from beat writers indicated him not playing in 2017 was a possibility.
That’s obviously a substantial negative for the Colts’ whole offense, which is limited to just a few usable pieces.
Marlon Mack busted a 22-yard run on the Colts’ first drive, lost four yards later on the drive, then didn’t get another touch all game. Robert Turbin played more snaps and got seven touches, but suffered a serious arm injury that has ended his season. That’s unfortunate for Turbin, but Mack has been impressive this year, and it’s certainly a big boost for him that the Colts will be forced to use him more.
Frank Gore played his lowest snap rate since Week 1, but is still going to remain involved enough to cap Mack’s upside, assuming health.
Donte Moncrief had a solid game, posting a 7-5-67 line and having a potential TD go just off his hands. Some called it a drop; I didn’t think it was that egregious.
Kamar Aiken continued to substantially out-snap him but ran just two more routes per PFF. Aiken began out-snapping Moncrief in Week 2, left Week 3 early with a concussion, and picked back up in Week 4 playing ahead of him. If we isolate Weeks 2, 4, 5, and 6, which is our best sample of what appears to be the preferred playing time, Aiken has run 147 routes to Moncrief’s 132.
That’s not a major edge, but without Luck, the split is enough to render both unusable. T.Y. Hilton saw just four targets, something that won’t happen often. Moncrief’s 67 receiving yards were the seventh-highest single game total of his 50-game career, including three playoff games. There’s no need to cling to him.
Jack Doyle, who picked up 11 targets in this quiet Hilton game, posted a 7-50-1 line. He’s mildly interesting, but Hilton will generally be the main guy in a passing offense that will mostly lack punch.
Signal: Team – not a lot of offensive firepower, and Andrew Luck isn’t walking through that door
Noise: T.Y. Hilton – four targets, one catch
Cincinnati is coming off a bye and will be without Tyler Eifert for the remainder of the season. I talked last week about the plus upcoming TE schedule as it pertained to Eifert, but it definitely makes Tyler Kroft a worthwhile add. He’s played at least 83 percent of the Bengals’ snaps for three straight games.
I also talked about John Ross, who is a sharp pickup right now. I was high on him in the pre-draft process, so it’s fair to be skeptical of bias here, but with both Eifert and Tyler Boyd out for the foreseeable future, the Bengals have pass-catching snaps available.7 Ross’s absence was longer than expected, which could mean a couple of things: 1) he was more hurt than originally reported, which would be bad; 2) the team wanted to hold him out through the bye to make sure he was 100 percent, in which case it’s possible they are ready to play their top-ten pick a substantial amount of snaps in Week 7. He returned to practice Monday, so he looks healthy enough to get a full week in.
I don’t think an impact similar to Will Fuller’s return is out of the question.
The Bills also return from a bye and have added Deonte Thompson. Anytime you can bring in a guy who fell out of favor in the Bears’ WR corps to fix your WR problems, I think that’s a move you have to make.
Nick O’Leary is another sneaky TE option for deep leagues. He played 84 percent of the snaps in Week 5, a game in which Charles Clay went down, and posted a 6-5-54 receiving line. I’m not a fan of Bills’ pass-catchers due to volume, but if you’re in deeper leagues or TE premium formats, he has some short-term appeal. Maybe he’s more of a contrarian DFS punt play for large-field GPPs.
Most Notable Signals
Too many passing options for the Browns, Chargers; Robby Anderson, Austin Seferian-Jenkins – top two NYJ passing-game options; Derrick Henry – first quarter usage was new, suggests expanding role; Jordan Taylor – potential Emmanuel Sanders replacement; C.J. Anderson – two touches after the first drive of the third quarter, out of negative game script RB rotation with Devontae Booker healthy; Chris Ivory – two-minute RB
Martavis Bryant – ceded snaps for run-heavy gameplan; C.J. Anderson’s to-date opportunity share; Oakland’s 54.3 offensive plays per game (no other team below 60); Keenan Allen’s career low 54.1 percent catch rate
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- For context, only five quarterbacks have a higher YPA for the season. (back)
- Jordan Howard, Week 6. (back)
- per PFF (back)
- Assuming the small sample holds, but it follows logically. (back)
- 3.3 YPC on his other 18 rushes. (back)
- Their average is 22. (back)
- To the Eifert point, my reasoning would be multi-TE sets are less likely. (back)